Published: 29th July 2022
Petition challenging minimum NEET percentile criteria for admission to PG courses dismissed: Delhi HC
The respondent, represented by advocates T Singhdev and Ripu Daman Bhardwaj, termed the petitioners' statement regarding vacant seats as "misleading and incorrect"
On July 29, the Delhi High Court dismissed a petition challenging the regulation of a minimum 50th percentile in the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) as a mandatory requirement for admission to postgraduate medical courses. The court stated that there cannot be any compromise on the issue of quality of doctors as it leads to risking the lives of humans.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said that the provision cannot be quashed because seats are lying vacant and it would be unconscionable for the court to interfere in the medical education standards duly and diligently set by the governing authority, as it involves a matter of life and death, as stated in a report by PTI.
Further, the Bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad, stressed that dropping the standards of medical education may result in creating havoc on society. Therefore, in this regard, the court decided that it cannot issue a mandamus directing the respondents to fill up the seats, particularly when the candidates have not secured the minimum percentile. And as the court was dealing with admission to PG courses in several medical colleges, it stressed that it cannot compromise the quality of doctors/specialists as it involves risk to human lives.
The petitioners — three doctors who sought admission to postgraduate courses — filed the public interest litigation for a direction to quash Regulation 9(3) of the Post-Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000, which prescribes a minimum of 50th percentile in NEET PG as a mandatory requirement for admission to postgraduate courses with respect to General category candidates. The regulation prescribes at least the 40th percentile for Reserved category candidates, as stated in a report by PTI.
The requirement was illegal, arbitrary and the percentile system was faulty, the petitioners said, explaining that a large number of seats are lying vacant even when the candidates are efficient and willing. Further, the petitioners claimed that there was a huge shortage of doctors in the subject of Pathology, Microbiology and Anaesthesiology who are the specialists and regulations deserved to be declared as ultra vires.
Considering this, the court said that the petitioners did not make out a case of unreasonableness, manifestly arbitrariness, lack of legislative competence, violation of fundamental rights, violation of any provision of the Constitution of India and repugnancy of the laws to warrant any interference. Additionally, the court said, "The question of quashing the statutory provision in the peculiar circumstances of the case does not arise merely because a large number of seats are lying vacant. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed."
The respondent, represented by advocates T Singhdev and Ripu Daman Bhardwaj, termed the petitioners' statement regarding vacant seats as "misleading and incorrect". Further, the respondents said that the main purpose of the NEET exam is to check whether the candidate is suitable for PG courses and possesses the right aptitude to pursue a specialised stream of Medicine after the requisite teaching and training.